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State of disillusionment

Victorian voters are unhappy with their politicians. This was an election of quiet desperation where Labor lost the election rather than the Liberals winning it (if indeed they have). While Labor has  a lot to make up to voters, the Liberals will be lucky to get a honeymoon.

The qualitative responses for why people were voting for one of the major parties says it all. Out of Greens voters 19% were registering a protest against Liberal or Labor or both. Out of Labor voters 22% were voting against the Liberals but were not necessarily enthusiastic about Labor. For the Liberals the figure was a devastatingly high 56%. This suggests volatile times ahead and does a lot to explain the size of some of the swings.

One of the characteristics of protest vote elections is that they leave a fingerprint in the voting pattern. Many seats on slim margins don't swing at all, while seats with large margins often swing wildly. The reason for this is that the chances of someone protest voting is enhanced if they think they can do it without necessarily changing their member.

The large proportion of protest votes also explains why the Greens vote barely increased in the end, despite being up substantially during the campaign. Given the distaste for the Liberals a lot of the protest vote was going to the Greens, who also had the virtue of not being able to form the government. When the Liberals decided to preference against them, their utility as a way of lodging a protest decreased, so the protest vote leached away to the Liberals.

It would have done this partly on the basis that it didn't think the Liberals could win.

Some commentary has noted that the Liberals ran a comparatively low-key campaign. I assume that this was strategic and they wanted Labor to talk themselves out of office. They may also have been concerned that if they looked like winners too early the protest vote would disappear. This may impact on early voting (although early voting in the Federal election tended to mirror what happened on the day).


These verbatims are from people who presented as protesters and are typical of the percentages enumerated above.


"I am in an electorate where the Greens could win, and some Green members would give a Labor government more reaon to cooperate on the Murray and take action on some of the other issues such as public transport and social matters."

"I think the Greens are in a position of power and can influence the outcome of bills presented to parliament. I like their main philosophies and while I recognise that there are signs of ineptitude and naivety in some of their pronouncements, I feel they..."

"I would hope that if the Greens had the balance of power they could force whichever party attains government to listen to what people are saying and to implement policies that improve everyday life eg better public transport, rather than grandiose that no..."


"Although current Labor has lost its way I don't trust the Liberalsto enact socially needed policies"

"I can't see any better option to Labor, except for Labor with a bit of a kicking.  However, I'm not even sure they'll understand what it means."

"Least bad. Best equipped to manage growth."

" Liberals are hopeless and greens are in fairy land!"

"Traditional labor voter - but, I am tempted to look elsewhere"


"Baillieu stands for almost nothing but anything would be better than a Brumby Govt. This Bracks/Brumby Govt. is almost as corrupt and bad as the John Cain Govt."

"It is time for a change of government and the Liberal Party should be given a chance to govern Victoria once again."

"Labor has been in too long and has not fixed what they were originally voted in to govern and fix. Only during this election campaign have they suddenly 'discovered' that there are issues that need fixing"

"Liberals won't win, but Labor needs a kick up the proverbial."

"The current Labor government is "running on empty". It exists essentially to be re-elected. It lacks ideas and good ministers."

"While still pandering to the CO2 tax, the Climate Change crackpots and the unreal tree huggers they are the lesser evil of all the other nutters."

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0 #1 I am glad that the govt has changed. TheGerry 2010-12-15 22:10
I am glad that the govt has changed. The ALP has been so focused on maintaining power they have lost the understanding that Govt actually needs to deliver. Their endless plans ultimately killed them. Every day I suffer disruption on the train network, I think 'this is the ALP legacy to Victoria' and it will remind me not to vote ALP again. That written, if the Libs do not deliver they will suffer the embarrassment of being a one term govt.
0 #2 Whilst the Governement may have changed Brian Devlin 2010-12-15 22:40
Whilst the Governement may have changed I doubt that the pitiful conservative lackies in the press will ever hold a liberal governement up to the same level of scrutiny that they apply to governments of other persuasions.
So friend I doubt that this will be a one term government. Victorians have chosen their own course and will have to put up with the results or lack of results .
0 #3 I was really disappointed that the DemocLorikeet 2010-12-16 05:38
I was really disappointed that the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) ran 67 candidates and still didn't pick up any seats. They even lost their upper house member, Peter Kavanagh. I wish people would move away from voting for the major parties. A better mix of parties in the parliament would encourage greater democracy and accountability, especially if minor parties who are patriots of their own country are added to the mix. If people don't want to be completely crushed by global banks buying up everything, or the government corporatising everything, they should not vote for Labor or Liberals.
0 #4 The major parties have been shafting us Ross 2011-01-12 22:46
The major parties have been shafting us for far too long.New parties are germinating at this moment.All pollies are on notice.